Analysis: Is E-Commerce the Way to Go After Covid-19?

Summary

In a world-changing series of events, the coronavirus has changed multiple aspects of society – including consumer behavior in big and small ways. Of course, retailers have to respond accordingly, or they too will be consumed by the lasting effects of the pandemic. This blog will tackle the significant and widespread industry shift towards e-commerce, and why it’s slowly becoming the most practical way to go for both merchants and customers in a post-virus future.

If we have learned one thing from the calamitous year that was 2020, it’s that things can change in one snap of a finger – changes we thought we had decades to prepare for, habits we assumed we’d stick to forever, expectations we have of ourselves and the society we live in. 2020 has proven itself, time and again, to be world-changing – in terms of the way we live, the way we work, and the way we shop and buy as consumers.

But perhaps the most significant effect of Covid-19 on retail and commerce is the realization that, for many of us, geographical location has been rendered irrelevant – so long as you’re connected to the internet. In fact, this flexibility was only fully realized after the pandemic decimated brick-and-mortar foot traffic by more than 60 percent, while 43 percent of shoppers started to rely on online shops for products they would’ve previously bought in physical stores. Consequently, this sudden shift towards e-commerce allows more consumers to move away from metropolises.

The virus also catapulted e-commerce strategies – at an almost overnight pace – from a perpetual yet stagnant “top priority” status on every retailer’s short-to-long term plan to a desperately needed lifeline that could potentially save them from the economic distress caused by the great lockdown. Small-to-midsize retailers in the US collectively poured in a staggering $10 billion in e-commerce infrastructure, investments, acquisitions, and partnerships from May to July 2020.

Essentially, the first year of the 2020 virus pandemic accelerated previously existing, but stalled, efforts to innovate the retail landscape. For most, however, the series of events that have unfolded last year spurred an imminent reset of the way businesses think about consumers’ needs and the future of e-commerce.

Moving forward, what experience do you want to
create for your consumers?

To be successful in e-commerce,
you need to think bigger than e-commerce.

Instead of asking yourself “What e-commerce investments do I need to make?” you should be contemplating about “What consumer experience do you want to offer in the new normal?”

This realization comes as a shock for many retailers who have long had a mentality that’s rooted firmly in brick-and-mortar commerce. Then again, Covid-19 has only emphasized and established the reality that consumer experience is rapidly evolving from one that’s built upon in-store shopping to almost personal, ongoing, enriching, and digital business-to-consumer relationships. It’s like drawing a journey map together with your consumer – one that is highly dependent on the other, reaping mutual benefits for both businesses and customers.

So for retailers to offer compelling consumers experiences, they must understand the future set anew, even forcibly, by the coronavirus pandemic. Undeniably, e-commerce is an unequivocally vital piece of that future.

How can retailers know if they fit into this
imminent future painted by a few all-powerful
players and a global pandemic?

Here are some core questions to help define your investments and business model decisions:

• Do you have a dynamic, intuitive e-commerce platform that understands that every consumer journey
and experience is unique?
• Is your key organizational structure free of obstacles – which isolate e-commerce, core operations,
supply chains, and marketing – that interrupt the experience?
• How can you be price-competitive and still maintain margin? How can you drive sales and purchases in
an online environment? What role do store architecture and merchandising play in this?
• How do you seamlessly orchestrate the consumer experience from digital to physical and back again?
• And ultimately, how would you maintain the experience all the way to consumers’ doorsteps?

Always Open Commerce helps you answer these key questions and provide adaptive solutions to ensure your business will fit perfectly in a post-virus future. We help retailers think bigger than e-commerce – not just out-of-the-box clichés that sometimes fail to reflect real-world growth. Here at AOC, we’ll help you set realistic and reasonable goals that your business can achieve slowly but surely – one by one in a smooth, upward projectile.

Regardless of how consumer behavior continues to change, businesses must be prepared to innovate and develop stronger, deeper relationships with their loyalists – both online and in person.

E-commerce in a Post-Virus World – Part 2

Learn how businesses cope up with the changing e-commerce landscape.


With the global vaccine rollout facing major slumps in small-to-midsize economies, experts predict that the world will not return to normal until the warmer months of 2022, according to an article published by The Atlantic. So with a full year ahead of us, how can e-commerce businesses endure these uncertain times? Here’s what online stores do to stay afloat.

Sell to the post-virus market.

Offer Discounts and Incentives!

  • 73% of top online retailers are running sales regularly.
  • 40% is the median discount rate across all active sales.
  • 90% of customers say free shipping is the most in-demand perk, so more businesses are adding this incentive to their stores.

Market at the Right Place

Since Day 1 of the pandemic, people flock to social networking sites more than ever. Facebook Marketplace has a potential market reach of 2.7 billion monthly users, though that’s a highly inorganic number. Still, marketers predict that Marketplace will soon become the Internet’s leading market listing platform, overtaking current titleholder Craigslist.

  • U.S. online orders in market listing platforms increased 56% YoY
  • Mobile sales expected to drop globally by 5% in 2021-2022
  • Podcast downloads are down 20%

The coronavirus is here to stay.
So must your business.

Just like the major pandemics of the past, Covid-19 may never go away, health experts say. People will only have to develop immunity against the virus. As we wait for the vaccine rollout to trigger herd immunity, the world needs to carry on and continue doing business as usual.

For online businesses to stay profitable and maintain growth, they have to:

  • Adapt to meet changing customer needs
  • Sell thoughtfully to the right market
  • Stay safe

We can help! AOC’s mission is to assist online businesses in achieving stability and maintain growth.

Tell us your story. We’re interested! Visit this page and let’s talk about your business’ success amidst this pandemic.

E-commerce in a Post-Virus World – Part 1

Get a glimpse of how the Covid-19 pandemic impacted and changed the landscape of E-commerce.


Businesses around the world have been grappling with the effects of the coronavirus pandemic for almost a year. Everything from rapidly changing customer behavior to logistics and supply issues proves to be a challenge for entrepreneurs trying to keep their businesses afloat. In this blog, we’re offering a bird’s eye view of the key data around these changes and how E-commerce is adapting to them.

The market has changed.
Permanently.

All figures are based on a year-on-year comparison (2019 and 2020).

After the impact of Covid-19,
What are people buying online?

  1. Gifts and Specialty Products – 18.9% increase YoY
  2. Apparel and Accessories – 14.3% increase YoY
  3. Home and Garden – 8.4% increase YoY
  4. Groceries – 7.2% increase YoY
  5. Toys and Games – 7.0% increase YoY

 

After the impact of Covid-19,
Here’s what people aren’t buying online:

  1. Luggage – 77% decrease YoY
  2. Cameras and Equipment – 64% decrease YoY
  3. Swimwear – 62% decrease YoY
  4. Gym Bags – 57% decrease YoY
  5. Store Fixtures and Displays – 50% decrease YoY

 

Businesses must change, too.

To stay ahead of the pandemic and meet changing market needs, stores are adapting to the new normal.

 

Bricks-to-Clicks

If you’re among the millions who closed down their physical stores, don’t lose hope. Set up a store online and reconnect with your customers.

  • Due to Covid-19, E-commerce sales grew by 25% in 2020.

 

Less Contact, More Sales

Because of the continuous threat of the virus, shoppers order more items through stores with less physical contact.

  • No-contact deliveries are up 62% since April 2020.

 

Popular Products

In a time where people only buy what they need, you can make a pivotal shift to selling what customers are buying.

  • Face mask sellers grew 5 folds in just two weeks.

 

Learn what online retailers are doing in Part 2!